Turn on the Lamp

Whilst having a sort out of some boxes the other day I found a smart bulb. It was originally purchased so that my wife, when not feeling well, could turn the main bedroom light on and off without getting out of bed. Throughout the house we have dimmers and, whilst the bulb worked, the dimmer switch hummed from its home in the wall. This drove everyone nuts and the smart bulb was swiftly removed and put away. Until now.

At the start of the year I bought a standing lamp for my lounge. When it arrived the shade bit of the lamp was about twice the size I had expected (I really should read the dimensions properly when I buy things online) but it has a home giving, what I hope is, a dramatic up-light on a picture.

When I found this old bulb in a box of bulbs and batteries I did not expect it to work but I was delighted to find that it was the correct fitting for the lamp, pretty much the only bulb-light in the house without a dimmer switch. Having read the make and model of the bulb, to locate the appropriate app on the app store, I plugged it in. It flashed.

With the app installed, everything worked very smoothly. I felt ridiculously excited and happy when I could turn on the light from my phone…and set it to be any colour! Oh my. Now, I knew that this was the point of the bulb so it wasn’t a surprise , as such, but it still felt like some sort of magic. I have always loved dramatic or mood lighting, probably from my love of Christmas tree lights since a child, and to have control over a light like this was great. I was a very happy chap.

Imagine, then, my surprise and utter delight when I took a silly chance and said “Alexa, turn on the lamp”, and it did.

“Alexa, turn the lamp off.”

“Alexa, turn the lamp on.”

“Alexa, turn the lamp off.”

“Alexa, turn the lamp on.”

And so on…

I was grinning from ear to ear. I summoned the boys, one by one, to demonstrate my newfound, godlike powers. The reactions, as usual with pretty much everything, ranged from excitement to “humpf” but I was a happy boy with a toy. I was even happier when I tried “Alexa, make the lamp purple”. Oh boy… Of course, I now had to try all the built-in colour names, which include salmon, before realising a could create my own scenes.

Having made the discovery that I could, in theory, create my own “scenes” to have lots of things, if I had them, come on at once with a single command I have been imagining me saying “Alexa, it’s Christmas” (I don’t really know how the scene commands work yet) and having all the Christmas lights come on at once, perhaps accompanied by the “Hallelujah Chorus”. Not sure how the last bit would work but I can always imagine it and, if on my own, sing it out loud.

To this end, and having already transferred the Christmas decorations from the loft to the dining room with the assistance of my parents, I have ordered a bunch of smart plugs (handily on a Black Friday offer) and some other lighting bits and pieces.

During these different times, with a host of unknowns for what we will be allowed to do or who we will be allowed to see, I have found a childlike, exciting, little quest to make things a bit different. Even if it only makes me smile, and feel like a wizard twice (or twenty) times a day, I think it will be worth it. One needs to find joy where one can I think, especially at the moment.


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